San Francisco, Yosemite Valley & Lake Tahoe, California
San Francisco, Yosemite Valley & Lake Tahoe, California
Scenery in San Francisco
Scenery in San Francisco
Lake Tahoe, California
Lake Tahoe, California
Yosemite National Park & The El Capitan Half Dome
Yosemite National Park & The El Capitan Half Dome

Experience San Francisco, Yosemite & Lake Tahoe Self-Drive

9 nights from £1,569 per person Including Flights


Experience the best of Northern California on this 10 day self-drive itinerary, from the fun of San Francisco to outdoor adventures in Yosemite National Park and beautiful Lake Tahoe.

There is so much to see and do in San Francisco it’s going to be hard to drag yourself away. But once you drive into the National Park of Yosemite you’ll be excited to see the spectacular views, walk or cycle the trails and perhaps take a river trip. Then you’ll drive the stunning Tioga Pass, leaving Yosemite to reach the impressive Lake Tahoe. Here take time to relax on the lakeshore, drinking in the views, before you explore this beautiful area on foot, bike or boat.

We will tailor-make this holiday so that you spend as long or as little in each place and can choose the right hotels for your party. (TM)


  • Enjoy time at the wonderful Lake Tahoe – in a stunning setting you can relax on a lakeside beach, enjoy watersports or hike the surrounding countryside
  • Explore Yosemite National Park, admire the magnificent rock formations of El Capitan and Half Dome, take a river rafting trip
  • Have fun in San Francisco, cycle the Golden Gate Bridge, take a foodie tour of Chinatown, ride the street-cars - click here to see the experiences we can book for you in this great city
  • Experience some spectacular sights as you drive through Northern California such the dramatic Tioga Pass, and stop en route in a gold rush ghost town

Itinerary Overview

Fly into San Francisco stay 3 nights - Yosemite 3 nights - Lake Tahoe 3 nights - return flight from San Francisco

We recommend visiting late June - October due to the Tioga Pass possibly being closed for the winter months.

Our holidays include
  • Flights & taxes
  • Accommodation
  • Checked baggage
  • ATOL protection
  • In resort assistance & 24 hour contact centre
Why Book with American Sky?
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  • Choice of airlines and the option to switch
  • A friendly, family run business with a wealth of experience.
  • Great deals on offer for multiple destinations
  • Low deposits
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Day 1

Arrival in San Francisco

Fly to San Francisco Airport and transfer independently to your chosen hotel to check in and get a good night’s sleep. We advise you don’t pick up your hire car until you’re ready to move on from San Francisco as you won’t need it in the city.

Day 2

San Francisco

Chase away any jet lag with a cycle around the city and over the Golden Gate bridge. We can pre-book you bike rental or you may prefer to do this as part of a guided tour to help find your way around this great city. If you haven’t quite got the energy, then maybe book a Segway tour, or simply ride the iconic street cars – a day pass costs just $21. Perhaps the craziest way to explore, is on a “GoCar Tour – drive yourself around in two-seater mini-cars with sat nav showing you the way!

Day 3

San Francisco

The number one attraction in San Francisco is the prison island of Alcatraz, and if you want to visit then you have to pre-book your ticket as every day is a sell-out. If you’re feeling brave you can choose the night-time option when everything feels even more menacing in one of the toughest prisons in American history. This evening why not take a trip to Chinatown for an Asian feast.

Day 4

San Francisco – Mariposa - Yosemite National Park – 189 miles

Pick your hire car up then head westwards towards Yosemite National Park. A nice route takes you through the towns of Modesto and Merced with time to stop in Mariposa for lunch. Mariposa is a charming old town dating back to the Gold Rush and retaining much of it’s Wild West character. You are now at the gateway to Yosemite, so you can take your time exploring the town, then later in the afternoon head to your chosen lodge in the park

Day 5

Yosemite National Park

There are miles and miles of trails in this beautiful national park, so just choose how you want to explore. You can drive to various vantage points to see the massive rock formation El Capitan – taller than the world’s highest building. The other famous granite formation is Half Dome, named after its shape, and located in the east of the park. Described as the ultimate Yosemite day hike, you’ll need to be pretty fit to tackle this one. However there are countless more sedate trails, where you will still see stunning sights and vistas, and you can also hire bikes to explore the thousand square miles of this park.

Day 6

Yosemite National Park

Another full day to enjoy all that Yosemite has to offer. Perhaps today book a kayak or rafting trip on the Merced River. In Spring it is a gushing torrent fed by the melting snows, by Summer it has calmed down into a gentle free-flowing river ideal for a float-trip downstream. The entire valley is filled with meadows which are just lovely for having a picnic beside the river. There are also beautiful lakes to seek out – the favourites being Mirror Lake and Tenaya Lake.

Day 7

Yosemite - Tioga Pass – Bodie State Historic Park – Lake Tahoe – 184 miles

Today will be the most spectacular drive of your holiday. Taking Route 120, you will head eastbound to the Sierra Nevada mountains and to the Tioga Pass. This is impassable through the winter, and sometimes the snow doesn’t clear on this mountain pass until well into May or sometimes even June. The road twists and turns through the mountains, and you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of snow-capped peaks and beautiful alpine meadows. There are plenty of places to stop to take in the vistas and take photos. Once you’ve left the park, stop for a bite to eat in Lee Vining as the short detour we recommend  on today’s route is Bodie – a ghost town, where you won’t find any eateries. This is California’s official state gold rush ghost town, preserved in a state of “arrested decay” and no commercial buildings. After soaking up the spooky atmosphere, you might want to take one of their ghost tours, continue onto the splendid shores of Lake Tahoe.

Day 8

Lake Tahoe

Beautiful and vast, Lake Tahoe surrounded by soaring peaks lying between the mountains of the Sierra Nevada and the Carson Range. Wherever you are staying, you will find nearby places to rent bikes, hire kayaks or book a cruise. There are beaches all around the lake, where you can swim and relax. In the south there the tree-lined Pope Beach is a favourite for picnics, Secret Cove is more secluded on the eastern shore and Commons Beach in the north west is family-friendly with a playground and facilities.

Day 9

Lake Tahoe

Another day to enjoy wonderful Lake Tahoe. Relax, explore, have fun on the water – the choice is yours.

Day 10

Lake Tahoe – Sacramento – San Francisco International Airport -  188 miles

You’ll be heading home today but if your flight isn’t until the evening, then you could stop off en route to the airport in Sacramento. Enjoy a relaxing few hours, and perhaps a nice lunch, in the Old Sacramento State Historic Park. Located on the river, this 28 acre park is alive with historical attractions from the time of the Gold Rush. Ride in a horse-drawn carriage then wander the boardwalk to find your final lunch spot. Its then just a short drive to San Francisco International Airport and your flight home.

  • Prices shown include 3* – 4 * hotels for the duration of the itinerary based on two people sharing on a room only basis
  • International flights
  • Fully inclusive car hire
  • Electronicroadbook

What’s Not Included

  • Resort fees and parking fees where applicable
  • Excursions
  • Road tolls

Recommended Hotels

Our suggested hotels for this itinerary are:

San Francisco

Yosemite National Park

Lake Tahoe


Riu Plaza Fisherman’s Wharf

San Francisco

The Riu Plaza Fisherman’s Wharf is set in the heart of one of San Francisco's most popular regions. Known for its historic waterfront, delicious seafood and spectacular sights, this is a must for any visitor.

Holiday Inn Express at Fisherman's Wharf

San Francisco

Staying at this location puts you in the heart of Fisherman's Wharf and within walking distance of Ghirardelli Square, the Cannery, Pier 39, Aquarium of the Bay and the Wax Museum.

The St Regis San Francisco

San Francisco

The St Regis San Francisco offers a Michelin Star restauant on-site as well luxurious accommodations and excellent facilities right at the heart of San Francisco.

Yosemite Valley Lodge

Yosemite National Park

As the closest property to Yosemite Falls, Yosemite Lodge is an idyllic spot for families, group retreats and visitors seeking to blend the comforts of a hotel while exploring the wilderness

Yosemite View Lodge

Yosemite National Park

This comfortable, well-equipped lodge is located in El Portal overlooking the Merced River. It is just 4 km from the western entrance to the famous Yosemite National Park.

Best Western Sonora Oaks

Yosemite National Park

Discover this Sonora, California hotel located in the Sierra Foothills about a 90 minute drive from Yosemite.

Best Western Yosemite Gateway Inn

Yosemite National Park

The Best Western Yosemite Gateway Inn is conveniently located near the south entrance to Yosemite National Park. The property is nestled among live oak trees high on a hill in a tranquil mountain setting that is an ideal spot for a family holiday.

Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite

Yosemite National Park

Experience the breathtaking splendour of Yosemite National Park from the award-winning Tenaya Lodge, awarded with the prestigious AAA Four Diamond award every year since opening. A popular choice for families because of the wide choice of activities.

The Ahwahnee Yosemite

Yosemite National Park

The The Ahwahnee (formally The Majestic Yosmite Hotel) is well known for its great granite façade, striking beamed ceilings, massive stone hearths, richly colored Native American artwork, and finely appointed rooms

Best Western Plus Station House

Lake Tahoe

The Best Western Plus Station House is set in scenic surroundings offering view of the crystal blue waters of Lake Tahoe.

Holiday Inn Express South Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

This South Lake Tahoe hotel is situated approximately 65 miles from Reno-Tahoe International Airport and less than a mile from the Heavenly Ski Resort.

The Landing Tahoe Resort & Spa

Lake Tahoe

A luxurious boutique hotel, nestled on the southern shores of Lake Tahoe. The beautiful guestrooms offer a selection of lake or forest views, all with private balcony or terrace and just steps away from the lake. Also offering a spa, fitness room and restaurant.

Jade Pearson
Book today

Talk to our travel experts for more information and to book or tailor-make your holiday

01342 331798 Call us 9am-7pm Mon-Fri / 9am-5pm Sat-Sun

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